Whenever I think about the universe, I feel how small and insignificant our lives are. The only richest thing in the entire frame of existence is the universe itself, and we are, to quote Carl Sagan, living on a ‘tiny speck of dust suspended in a beam of light in this vast cosmic arena’. I mean, just imagine all the possibilities – a planet inside a solar system, further inside a galaxy consisting of hundreds of thousands of such planetary systems, which is further inside a nebula consisting of hundreds of thousands of such galaxies and there are millions of such nebulas in the tiny part of the observable universe the humans have thus far explored. Are we the only ones alive in this whole darkness and silence? I don’t think so.

20111128_M42LRGB-PS3V1-2150x-1The universe came into existence, don’t know when, but an estimated age of the universe (13.8 billion years) is still so much, one can only drop their jaw and wonder with an awe. All the discoveries that have so far been made are landmarks in the fields of astronomy and science, but still leave enough room for free thought.

Before Copernicus and Galileo made their observations and declared the model of the universe which is known today, it was assumed that the universe is limited and the Earth is the center of it. According to Ptolemy’s suggested model, there were nine spheres, namely for the moving stars, the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the fixed stars. Beyond that, the universe was unexplained and thus this model was picked up by Christian doctrines, because it satisfied the scriptures and left scope for heaven and hell beyond the sphere of the fixed stars which was basically unexplored until then. Once this model was discarded, there was no turning back. From the nine sphere model of Ptolemy in the first century A.D., we have landed several times on the Moon and on Mars, our nearest neighboring planet, calculated distances between galaxies, photographed distant stars and nebulas to this day. But still, we haven’t been able to figure out if there is any life in the universe, or are we all alone? This is where the mind wants to wander with the curiosity of a child and all the silly thoughts.

Our existence is constituted by four dimensions – three dimensions of matter and fourth dimension of time. Time is considered to be the fourth dimension because, if we exist in the three dimensions and we don’t live for a moment or the tiniest measure on the scale of time, we have never really existed. Therefore to call it an existence, time as the fourth dimension is necessary. Furthermore, we are all bound to this planet by an attractive force called gravity, which acts between each and every particle & body in the universe. Similarly, this force (explained by Keppler’s laws of planetary motion) compels every celestial body to revolve around a bigger celestial body. All these rules apply to the universe. This universe.

What if there was another universe? What if there were other universes? What all things could be possible there? A fifth dimension? An anti-gravity force? Life? Anything’s possible. After all, Ptolemy’s model was once the primary and superior most truth for us, and we all had faith in it, while we never really believed we could ever fly until the Wright brothers invented the airplane.

Let’s imagine about the laws of science which apply to this universe. According to Darwinian Theory, all the species that exist today have gone through a slow process of evolution and adaption in order to survive. Still, there are a lot of species which are extinct today. Now, if we don’t consider the ones which involve human interference, then the simple answer to this is because they failed in the process of evolution and adaptation.

The earth provides enough resources for all the species to survive. The species which are extinct today, died either because of poaching and unnatural human involvement, or the exploitation of their habitat and food. Maybe the changes in their basic survival needs were so rapid, they couldn’t keep up and adapt their biological attributes according to the pace of change. Apart from blaming man, who is behind almost all the unnatural ill-happenings in the world today, this is still a failure of that species to an extent.

Taking a rough outline that earth sustains only as much species as it can, according to the changes it is going through and the conditions that keep changing, we can assume that there could have existed a lot more different species on our planet, had the conditions for their survival been present. This is like water flowing down a slope and occupying the lower most part of a vessel, because according to the laws of physics, it is bound to follow that phenomenon – the maximum possible condition under the minimum possible circumstances. For example, Cheetah eats Gazelles; Cheetah is dependent on Gazelles. If the temperature and climate of earth would have been slightly different, it would have created a huge difference in the sustenance of life on the planet altogether. There could have been some other species of plants because of this different ecological pattern, there could have been some other species of herbivore dependent on them and hence, some other species of carnivores dependent on the herbivore. This applies to the future possibilities and the past equally. The vegetation and wildlife during the age of the dinosaurs was different than the age of mammoths and saber tooth and the present day.

SmilodonTalking about dinosaurs and time and stars, there comes again a different chapter. What if I say that the gasoline in your car is as old as the twinkling of the star you saw yesterday? Sounds odd, right? There doesn’t seem any connection between them. But there is – the connection of time. We all know that the gasoline we use in our cars has been dug out from the earth, extracted from the fossil fuels buried underneath. These fossil fuels are the corpses of the dinosaurs and the plant life and these fuels were created under high pressure and temperature over a large span of time, when millions of years ago dinosaurs got buried (and thus, extinct) due to the apocalypse that occurred. We all know that. But how many of us know that the stars that we see twinkling in the skies every night, have actually twinkled around the same time when the dinosaurs got extinct? Let’s see how.

Light is dual-natured, both wave and particle and requires no medium to travel. So except for the change in its intensity, it keeps on travelling endlessly, without any interruption. The distance travelled by light in an year is called a “Light-year”.
1 Light-year = 300,000 (km/s; speed of light) x 86,400 (seconds in a day) x 365 (days in an year), which is equal to 9,460,800,000,000 Kilometers (approx.).

Multiply this by a few (hundred) millions, you’ll get the distance of the stars whose light you saw yesterday. Why? Because that star is so much far away from us that it took its light about some million years to reach us.

So, the star which died in front of your eyes while you were stargazing with your friends, glowed a brilliant white in a millisecond and then got extinguished – don’t worry that you couldn’t show it to your friends on time, for it has been dead for millions (or probably billions) of years. Don’t worry, for you’ll get plenty of chances in the future, because the universe will never run short of stars. Just keep on star gazing. (And mind this, I am not talking about shooting stars. They’re merely meteors.)

We all know the rules, we all know the facts. But how many of us actually ponder over them? Take time out from our busy schedules and comprehend about our lives from that point of reference? Wonder how big our problems seem in front of these giants, who have been there since time immemorial and will be there even after we all are gone?

We came into existence roughly half a million years ago – Ramapethacus, the first stage of human evolution. But that wasn’t it. After several other stages of our evolution, the Neanderthals appeared about four hundred thousand years ago. Then came the Ice Age which ended about ten thousand years ago leaving behind Homo sapiens, the present stage in the evolution of human beings and the most intelligent species that ever existed. So intelligent, that it created ‘an aspect of nature different from nature itself’ and because of that ‘we became too self-aware’. This means that our intelligence sprouted every possibility & expectation and we started challenging the limits set by nature.

More than ninety-percent of the technological development and advancement occurred in the past ten thousand years. We developed languages & manuscripts. We developed modes of communication, transportation & started settling down. We started trading and monetizing assets so we could earn profit and become superior to others. The more we remained involved in these activities, the faster we kept on evolving and our minds became more and more corrupt. When we realized that money and power could give us enormous strength and dominance over others, we started on with the pursuit of conquering the world. This is where everything went wrong.

By the time we had finally developed ourselves to be called ‘social animals’ or ‘social species’, 5000 years had passed and we were gnawing, trying to suppress others with the means of savage practices. We had developed religion and lost our primary purpose on this planet – to survive. Before this age, we were prone to the dangers posed by nature, vulnerable before every other species physically powerful than us. But with the development of intellect, we developed weapons to defend ourselves, which kept on getting sharper and sharper, their edges becoming more offensive than defensive. Mental ability finally surpassed physical ability and we became the unprecedented rulers of the planet.

The most ancient religions of the planet occurred about 5,000 years ago, which was again the result of the saturation of our intellect, supported by our fears and disabilities. It’s our natural instinct to fear everything we don’t know or can’t explain (fear of the unknown). The early men feared the forces of nature, so they made them gods and deities and started worshipping them to protect themselves from their wrath. Besides the visible sun & moon god, the most common gods to appear in almost all the cultures were the five elements – fire, earth, wind, water and soul. Apart from them, there were gods of life & death, and several others depending upon the geography and mindset of the races. Several religions explained how their gods developed and controlled the entire universe and that they did it periodically.

With time, trade routes were marked and invaders kept on invading far and foreign lands. This resulted in the exchange of ideologies and thus, more and more religions kept on emerging, the old ones being either replaced or further developed. The doctrines that kept on developing maintained an intelligent side of every religion, which was the basis of education during those days. But as Ptolemy’s model, which was considered to be true during those days, was rejected because it was wrong, the discoveries and inventions which followed changed the whole framework of religious education.

The basic idea of god and religion was to instill morality in the then still unsocial races by developing in them, a fear of an almighty being that watches our every action and punishes us accordingly without mercy. However, this idea was lost as we transformed into a modern society, but our savage instincts remained the same. Our minds had reached heights of corruption, we still craved for power and dominance and now we had several religions amongst us as competition and they posed threat to each other’s authority. Now, we had started killing in the name of religion, trying to prove the others wrong and ourselves right. We had twisted every doctrine and turned every teaching. We were force-feeding morality to our own races. We had emerged as the first and only self-destructive species on this planet.

Our mind kept on developing; we kept on evolving, digging out more and more knowledge from the depths of the earth and from the heights of the sky. Everything was getting piled up and hence things got tangled and complicated.

Religion came first. Science came later. Unquestionably, science fell in place to be the sibling. However, science kept on correcting the rather superstitious elder brother religion, because science is only what had already existed. Earlier there were atrocious rules for anyone who tried to question the authority of religion, which was supposed to be moral, instead. We lost a lot of great human beings, such as Galileo to this trend. Times changed, though, and modern days brought new light.

The light of a thousand suns.

Wars began to be fought in the name of religion. Even if religion wasn’t the main cause behind them, it was on the list. Millions of lives were lost in some of the most brutal and long-lasting wars, some of which continue till date. The question is – why are we still unable to understand that every trend should be followed only as a trend and should be gotten over with time? Why do we still cling to this trend of religions and keep on killing each other, degrading everything else around us? The answers are very simple. And the answers lie in science itself, and in our psychology.

Ever since we kept on moving ahead in the dark room that this world is, bearing the torch of science in our hand, throwing light and finding everything that is inside it, we have been on an unannounced combat with religion. Sometimes we were in agreement, but most of the times, to the disappointment of the masses, we were in disagreement. The general perception is that the purpose of science is to uproot religion. While in reality, the main purpose of science is to establish the truth and to educate people so that they could see their real, even if ugly, image and learn to accept themselves as they truly are, instead of the false image that the magical mirror of religion has been showing them. But the agony of comprehension is too heavy for them.

Human beings are naturally programmed to hold on to things which are familiar to them. For ages, religion has been a substantial part of every household. Children have been taught about god and religion as part of their basic moral education. Religious texts have been presented to them as fables and gods in such a way as to appear heroic and ideal. People, especially children draw their inspiration from their gods and religion forms a chunk of their daily drills, whereas they may not even bother to pay the slightest attention to science.

In a society with a majority of such religious people, a skeptical person is considered as a pathogen. He is asked to stay away from the children and not to speak his mind. The reason behind this is, the people have been too involved in religion and now they consider it as an essential part of their lives. They are not ready to believe anything which disproves their religious beliefs, simply because they hold it dear to themselves, and it makes them uncomfortable to acknowledge something they had put their beliefs in for a whole lifetime, and their forefathers before them, as false. This truth is too bitter for them and they would rather hold on and fight for what they believe in, even if it is wrong, than accepting the truth.

Talking about present day, where science has the answer for almost everything, holding on to the dogmas, superstitions and prejudices imposed by religion is victimizing ourselves; we are simply avoiding and ignoring what is right in front of us, trying to see the world with closed eyes. Religion has created a delusion for all these people, it has veiled all the evidences which can otherwise, be not overlooked. In such a condition, no matter how much one tries to explain the reason behind some miraculous happening to such a delusional person, they won’t understand.

There are two kinds of events: scientifically explainable events and random events. There’s no third kind. The universe is full of randomness; its mere existence is a random co-incidence. For all other non-random events which occur, they can be explained scientifically. There’s no such thing as ‘divine intervention’. But still, even today we stumble upon several reports from all around the world, which leave us awestruck and clearly signal towards the involvement of a supernatural being. Why do these things happen, then? Let’s see why.

Usually, in a place full of religious people who believe in such superstitions, there is a clear lack of skeptical and rational people, who may try to question the credibility of such an occurring and analyze the source of it with proper proofs and evidences (not because there aren’t enough scientific people in the world, but they are all busy in better places and better duties). There is a need for such people to be there, but as we say, “birds of a feather flock together”. Plus, it’s useless to waste one’s precious time on explaining something to people who have duly convinced themselves that ‘there is an almighty being in the sky who considers all of us His children, loves us all equally, wants us to serve Him and promises to burn us in hell if we fail to do so or challenge His authority. And, yes, of course, He wants money.’ Sounds perfectly divine, right? Well, a bit sexist, too.

We all are born agnostics. Our environment shapes our character and makes us skeptical or delusional. When we have spent enough time thinking that there is actually a divine form up there in the sky, we might even start to see him and his actions. However, all these actions can be scientifically explained, if all of us have enough patience and one or two bearers of the torch of science around us. But due to the usual lack of such scientific people, most of these questions remain unanswered and with more and more people believing in them blindly, they get established as rock-solid truths over time.

The solution to eradicate the delusions is to bridge this gap between the scientific society and the religious society, because the strength and amount of faith varies from person to person. Some people are dead-strong in their beliefs, while others have a somewhat weak faith. They are unsure about things and usually have doubts. If such people are brought in contact with sufficient credible truth, they can actually learn and push their courage to slit open their stitched eyelids. These are the people who may actually step up to change the world.

With varying degrees of the presence or absence of faith, we have categorized ourselves, with several systems for every kind of belief, going to every bit of detail. I have my own belief system, and I didn’t begin writing this to be another debate over religion and science. But consider this – an almighty being, which has the power to bring into existence a universe so big, no species will ever be able to completely map or explore even if they exist for a billion years, puts a species with a fast-growing intelligence on a microscopic planet. Also, he might grant you great score in your exams or treat a deadly chronic disease, if you pray to him and please him with offerings such as money and modern amenities (even when he is almighty and can have all this by himself, or even when he doesn’t need them at all). This doesn’t seem to fit in the definition of a worthy ‘divine’ being, does it? If I were such a being, I wouldn’t care what anyone on any planet was praying to me for, I would just focus on making sure that he sticks to the ground because of gravity and doesn’t fly away in space. That is, my sole focus would have been to govern the laws of the universe. That’s it.

The next thing which has always been present before us is free will. Whatever we thought was impossible and so we never gave a thought to a few hundred years ago, is now our reality. Similarly, whatever we now consider as impossible might be possible a few years later. We have been able to do all such things because of our free will. With no direct or primary intention of doing so, we have challenged the authority of the almighty god. An all-powerful king wouldn’t have ever let anyone from his kingdom to challenge or rather insult him. But since we are doing this, it means that either the almighty is allowing us to raise doubt over his existence, or that he doesn’t exist at all and hence, all our actions are out of freewill and not divine intervention.

The pace at which we are advancing technologically, we might reach singularity within the next 20 to 40 years. Once we reach singularity, we might even become a super-intelligent race and achieve the level of being an almighty ourselves. But our natural instincts will restrict us from sharing our power, thus creating a condition known as ‘Singularity Disparity’. The first being to reach singularity will stop every other being from achieving it and thus, a monopoly will be established. This is clearly evident today from the race for developing nuclear warheads and other deadly weapons every nation is indulged in, to create an atmosphere of terror and a continuous looming threat of third world war.

17u5ljixbsj2njpgWith every step we took forward, we increased our speed and improved our accuracy & precision. The Second World War claimed over 50 million lives. Third one will leave nothing unclaimed. We are standing at the edge of a dead drop and one push or movement from anyone of use will throw us down the fall, wherefrom coming back isn’t possible at all. We have erased our ignorance, but we haven’t yet written a common mindset of mutual harmony in its place. The dark room that this world is, is growing a lot darker, a lot scarier as we are moving forward, finding things which are ugly and sharp. With a lot of people still believing what religion had told them was inside this dark room when the torch of science hadn’t entered it, these sharp and ugly things can actually become the bloodied objects of mass-destruction. To speak the truth, such future scenarios are, without a doubt, inevitable, if we don’t change our course of advance or branch off to a different road which is better in terms of understanding of the threat which we pose to ourselves and our planet. If there were some intelligent species watching us from some far off place in the universe, they would be laughing at us right now, watching us become the debris of our actions.

Not just religion, but everything which divides us for the need of classification or to claim our rights which were never really ours, is pushing us inch by inch towards the edge of the cliff. The concept of nation states is a worthy candidate and a stiff competitor of religion for the post of becoming the biggest cause of the possibility of the third world war. A term which is hanging like a candy in the balloon above the birthday cake – ‘superpower’ – is attracting every nation like a kid at the party. And with greedy eyes, these kids are arranging everything they could put their hands on into a heap, to reach out and snatch the candy before anyone else does. But the balloon moves up higher and higher and soon one day, these kids might start fighting, even ending up killing each other, for the greed has stayed too long in their eyes and their hunger has forever increased.

All these thoughts are enough to sadden up someone with a real concern for the world. Because who are we, afterall? Tiny little creatures in the fabric of the universe with our lives so tiny, we end up even before the universe has completed 1/1000th part of a blink of its eyes. We might spend our lives being selfish, enjoying all the pleasures we could have, even if at the cost of the world. Because once we are gone, we are gone – it’s not our duty to worry for the ones left behind. They may live just like us, or they might suffer because we burnt too much firewood to roast our marshmallows and now, because of it, our predecessors don’t have enough air left to breathe. The choices are in our hand – they have always been. We might grow up and paint a vibrant landscape or enjoy the art of the doomsday on the canvas of the world, with the palette and paintbrush in our hand. For the least, both of these things are sure to give a momentary pleasure to our eyes, though.

Or, we can blot out our mistakes and deserve to live on this planet, because every time a Muslim terrorist kills someone to impose his religion on the world, or every time a Hindu extremist indulges in a riot demanding the dominance of his faith on his homeland, slaughtering an innocent Muslim family, a star in the sky cries. Now, this may be a better way to explain it to the delusional race, because they might actually believe that stars cry, while it may be a little hard for them to believe that stars don’t really do so. A star is only a giant ball of fire, which will burn you even before you reach hundreds of thousands of kilometers near it, because it doesn’t fucking care if you’re a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or some other god-damned religion-monger. It’s much, much older & wiser than you and your fucking religion and its only duty is to burn brilliantly, which it has been doing with all the patience over millions of years, so that you could come out in the garden, have a picnic and say, “Oh, what a fine sunny day!”